Jul
24
2011
Emotional O’Hair Wins Canadian Open After “Humbling” Season
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

emotional

On Wednesday Sean O’Hair couldn’t have fathomed hoisting the trophy at the Canadian Open. We wouldn’t have, either. Recently, it was hard to say whether he’d see weekend play since he’d missed 10 cuts in 17 starts this season.

O’Hair captured the RBC Canadian Open for his fourth career PGA Tour victory, beating Kris Blanks on the first playoff hole with a bogey.

“There is not one second that I’m not, like I said, that I’m not feeling like I’m going to just puke,” said O’Hair, referring to his emotions. “There’s not one second of it. When you’re walking to your next shot, you’re breathing, you’re trying to suck in as much air as possible. Trying to keep your mind occupied and not think of the situation.”

What a turnaround for O’Hair! I mean, if you had him to win this week, then you’re lying. He admitted to reaching the “worst point of the year” on Wednesday evening after playing “horrific” in the pro-am.

“To be sitting here right now is unbelievable,” said O’Hair in his post-round presser. “At the beginning of the week, to be honest with you, when I played my Pro-Am, obviously, it’s a very intimidating golf course and I played horrific. Probably, Wednesday night was my worst point of the whole year. Just kind of I didn’t know how I was going to play this week, and to be sitting here is amazing.”

Last week at the British Open, he staged an impressive comeback, posting three consecutive birdies on the back nine at Royal St. George’s to get within the cut line. When he reached 18 tee, he just needed a bogey. He gagged and made double. Admittedly, he had a hard time getting over it.

“One of my favorite weeks is the British Open,” he said. “Something I look forward to all year. I played so great, and I ended up doubling my last hole from basically just off the fairway to miss the cut by a shot.

“I was having a hard time trying to learn from that experience. And obviously it’s been a tough year up to that point, missed a lot of cuts by a shot. I’ve worked very, very hard this year, and I’ve had so much support from family and friends, and just to keep me upbeat.”

In his greenside interview with CBS’ Peter Kostis, O’Hair choked up, saying it had been a “humbling” year. Before this week, I was concerned he was going to lose his Tour card!

An interesting, non-relevant (yet kinda weird) coincidence: O’Hair had a Canadian swing coach (Sean Foley) and a Canadian caddie (Brendan Little, longtime looper for Mike Weir), both of whom he let go the week of the Quail Hollow Championship. Two months later, he wins their national championship.

However, O’Hair credited Foley for the win.

“I don’t think I’d be here without Sean Foley,” he said. “Sean really helped me learn about myself and about my game. He took me a long way in a short period of time. I learned a lot with him.

“It was time to make a change, and that’s really it’s that simple. We’re still close friends. We still chat quite a bit. You know, in this business nothing’s guaranteed.”

No, it never is. But as O’Hair showed today, a week or just a few days can make all the difference.

(Photo via Mark van Manen/PNG via the Vancouver Sun)